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HomeFOOTBALLSaving a football club is becoming far too frequent!

Saving a football club is becoming far too frequent!

Borough Green Football Club, one of the oldest clubs in the Sevenoaks and District Football League, are fighting for survival and unless someone comes to their rescue to run the club they may well fold.

Formed over 100 years ago, the Green as they are affectionately known, were one of the most successful clubs in Kent during their halcyon days of the 1950/1960’s.

This unfortunate situation follows the news several years ago when first Shoreham United, the first winners of the Sevenoaks Charity Senior Cup in season 1894/95, folded along with Brasted and Sundridge and then St. George’s (Wrotham) were forced to fold.

The whole ethos of the Sevenoaks and District Football League was built through village life and to lose these teams was a huge setback.

Borough Green’s unfortunate situation comes at a time when the Sevenoaks and District Football  League is on the crest of a wave with membership as high as it has been for many years.

In contrast  football Leagues and teams in Kent have had a torrid time over the past decade or so with the Dartford and District Football League, the Gravesend and District Football League, the Tonbridge and District Football League all folding and currently the Maidstone and District Football League on the verge of collapse.

This apathy of course points to the increasing lack of players wishing to participate in football on a Saturday afternoon.  Leagues would not be going out of existence if in turn clubs were in a healthy position with players.

The real irony is that kids football is thriving at the various age groups but the wastage appears to come when University beckons students who go away for whatever period of time and when they finish their studies they either do not return home or other interests have taken over. This of course is not only the reason.

However, it is not all about the diminishing number of players from the game. With the previous clubs who folded they were unable to replace retiring members ie. secretary, manager etc. It seems that nobody wants to give up their free time to help administer clubs, which is of course  is a weekly commitment over the winter months.

Where Borough Green FC are concerned this is exactly the problem.  The current secretary and manager are wishing to retire after many years in their respective positions and therefore there is a need for an energetic person/persons to take over with a knowledge of administering a local junior adult football club.

It is a great opportunity for someone interested in football administration and looking for a challenge with the spare time to do so.

All of this is in stark contrast to yesteryear when there was a real buzz amongst the players the day after a club selection Committee Meeting took place, when the team sheet went up outside the local pub or shop window. On which would be the details of travel arrangement for the forthcoming match.  Teams would often travel by lorry, coach or a trusty bicycle.

There was a real expectancy amongst the players as Saturday approached and nobody dared to drop out for fear of losing their place.

It is worthwhile taking this opportunity to look back at a few of Borough Green Football Club’s highlights particularly during the 1950/1960’s.

One of the Green’s most famous victories was in April 1961 when they made headlines by winning the Kent Junior Cup Group A Cup, prompting rave reviews in the local press as the team of the century. They defeated Dover Wanderers 5-1 at Gravesend and Northfleet’s Ground in a playing strip borrowed from neighbours St. George’s (Wrotham)!

In so doing, Borough Green became the first local team to win this particular cup since Holmesdale FC in 1899

In 1949 Borough Green reached the final of the Sevenoaks Charity Senior Cup final played at Knole Paddock and lost to Crockenhill 2-0.  The tie was played on Easter Monday before a post war record crowd of 3,500 producing gate receipts of £154.00

During the fifties and most notably in the sixties The Green playing in the Kent Amateur League and competing in the Sevenoaks Charity Senior and Junior Cups were never far from winning silverware . As the years rolled by the success stories began to wain. So much so at one point they were forced to withdraw their membership of the Kent County League (formerly the Kent Amateur League).

Currently they have just one team playing in Division Two of the Sevenoaks and District Football League, a far cry from those heady heights of days gone by at Borough Green Recreation Ground. They now play hosts to their visitors at Wrotham Recreation  Ground.

Anyone interested in saving Borough Green, a highly respected football club from disappearing from the local scene should contact either Kevin Hambridge on 07833 610299 or Darren Cook on 07545 857353. Both gentlemen have spent so much of their time in recent years to keep the club afloat and they would be delighted to hear from someone to “keep the ball rolling”.

By Derek Hodge, Chairman and Life President of the Sevenoaks & District Football League

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